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How does exercise help prevent hernias?

07 June, 2019

Colostomy UK:how does exercise prevent hernias

People who have had a stoma formed are more vulnerable to getting parastomal hernias. This is when a swelling/a bulge begins to increase over time around the stoma, the size and shape of which will vary in everyone  and may cause discomfort and problems with the stoma function.

Why are ostomates more vulnerable to hernias?

When a stoma is created, an incision is often made through the abdominal muscles which creates a potential weakness. A parastomal hernia can occur when the edges of the stoma come away from the muscle, allowing abdominal contents (usually a section of bowel) to bulge out.

Should ostomates worry about exercise?

When you are discharged from hospital it is quite likely you will be told to avoid strenuous exercise, heavy lifting and even driving for a number of weeks. Stoma surgery is invasive in nature and it will take time to recover, however provided you have an agreement from your doctor or stoma care nurse there is no medical reason why you can’t participate in exercise. As with many aspects of living with a stoma, exercise requires a little bit more planning and care.

Building up your core

The area commonly referred to as ‘the core’ encompasses all the muscles in your midsection which work as stabilisers for the entire body. By strengthening this area you strengthen the abdominal wall which in turn reduces the risk of a hernia forming. Gentle exercises such as chair yoga, walking and swimming are all suitable. Sit-ups, crunches, or any other abdominal muscle exercises must be controlled and done very carefully.

Support wear when exercising

In the course of exercising it might be advisable to support your stoma with a stoma belt/speciality underwear or stoma guard. These are specially fitted garments that essentially hold the midsection tightly so as no hernia can protrude. They are available from a range if different providers.

Get active today

As with any activity it is always best to start slowly and build up and should you experience any discomfort or pain, seek medical assistance from your GP or Stoma Care Nurse.

For more information on hernias click here. Colostomy UK also run support groups up and down the country, as well as free activities such as chair yoga, swimming and archery, find out more.

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